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7 Go, tell Jeroboam, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, Forasmuch as I exalted thee from among the people, and made thee prince over my people Israel,

8 And rent the kingdom away from the house of David, and gave it thee; and yet thou hast not been as my servant David, who kept my commandments, and who followed me with all his heart, to do that only which was right in mine eyes;

9 But hast done evil above all that were before thee: for thou hast gone and made thee other gods, and molten images, to provoke me to anger, and hast cast me behind thy back;

10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil upon the house of Jeroboam, and will cut off "from Jeroboam him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, and will take away the remnant of the house of Jeroboam, as a man taketh away dung, till it be all gone.

11 Him that dieth of Jeroboam in the city shall the dogs eat; and him that dieth in the field shall the fowls of the air eat: for the LORD hath spoken it. 12 Arise thou, therefore, get thee to thine own

fc. 16. 2. g c. 11. 31-38. A c. 15. 5. i c. 12. 28. 2 Chr. 11. 15, k Ps. 106. 29. 7 Neh. 9, 26. Ps. 50. 17. Ez. 23. 35. m c. 15, 29. n Deut. 32. 36. 2 Kings 14. 26. o c. 16. 4. 21. 21. p ver. 17. g Ez. 18. 14, &c.

dealing is best, and she shall know at the first word, what she has to trust to; I am sent to thee with heavy tidings. Note, Those who think by their disguises to hide themselves from God, will be wretchedly confounded, when they find themselves disappointed in the day of discovery: sinners now appear in the garb of saints, and are taken to be such; but how will they blush and tremble, when they find themselves stripped of their false colours, and are called by their own name; "Go out, thou treacherous false-hearted hypocrite, I never knew thee, why fergnest thou thyself to be another?" Tidings of a portion with hypocrites will be heavy tidings; God will judge men according to what they are, not according to what they seem. V. 7-20. When those that set up idols, and keep them up, go to inquire of the Lord, he determines to answer them, not according to the pretensions of their inquiry, but according to the multitude of their idols, (Ez. 14. 4;) so Jeroboam is answered here. He prevented her inquiry concerning the child, and foretels the ruin of Jeroboam's house for the wickedness of it; no one else durst have carried such a message, a servant would have smothered it, but his own wife cannot be suspected of ill will to him.

I. God calls himself the Lord God of Israel; though Israel had forsaken God, God had not cast them off, nor given them a bill of divorce for their whoredoms; he is Israel's God, and therefore will take vengeance on him who did them the greatest mischief he could do them, and drew them away from him.

house; and when thy feet enter into the city, the child shall die."

13 And all Israel shall mourn for him, and bury him; for he only of Jeroboam shall come to the grave, because in him there is found some good thing toward the LORD God of Israel in the house of Jeroboam.

II. He upbraids Jeroboam with the great favour he had bestowed upon him, in making him king, exalting him from among the people, the common people, to be prince over God's chosen Israel, and taking the kingdom from the house of David, to bestow it upon him. Whether we keep an account of God's mercies to us or no, he does, and will set even them in order before us, if we be ungrateful, to our greater confusion; other wise, he gives, and upbraids not.

14 Moreover, the LORD shall raise him up a king over Israel, who shall cut off the house of Jeroboam that day; but what? even now.

15 For the LORD shall smite Israel as a reed is shaken in the water, and the shall root "up Israel out of this good land which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their "groves, provoking the LORD to anger.

16 And he shall give Israel up, because of the sins of Jeroboam, who did sin, and who made Israel to sin.

17 And Jeroboam's wife arose, and departed, and came to Tirzah; and when she came to the threshold of the door, the child died.

18 And they buried him; and all Israel mourned

hill deities, and God removed his family as a great dunghill; noble royal families, if wicked, are no better, in God's account. 2. Unusual destruction; their very dead bodies should be meat for the dogs in the street, or the birds of prey in the field, v. 11. Thus evil pursues sinners. See this fulfilled, ch. 15. 29.

V. He foretels the immediate death of the child that was now sick, v. 12, 13. 1. In mercy to him; lest, if he live, he be infected with the sin, and so involved in the ruin, of his father's house. Observe the character given of him, In him was found some good thing toward the Lord God of Israel, in the house of Jeroboam. He only had an affection for the true worship of God, and disliked the worship of the calves. Note, (1.) Those are good, in whom are good things toward the Lord God of Israel; good inclinations, good intentions, good desires, toward him. (2.) Where there is but some good thing of that kind, it will be found: God that seeks it, sees it, be it ever so little, and is pleased with it. (3.) A little grace goes a great way with great people. It is so rare to find princes well affected to religion, that, when they are so, they are worthy of double honour. (4.) Pious dispositions are, in a peculiar manner, amiable and acceptable, when they are found in those that are young. The divine image, in miniature, has a peculiar beauty and lustre in it. (5.) Those that are good in bad times and places, shine very bright in the eyes of God. A good child in the house of Jeroboam, is a miracle of divine grace: to be there untainted, is like being in the fiery furnace unhurt, unsinged. Observe the care taken of him: he only, of all Jeroboam's family, shall die in honour; shall be buried, and shall be lamented, as one that lived desired. Note, Those that are distinguished by divine grace, shall be distinguished by divine providence. This hopeful child dies first of all the family, for God often takes them soonest, whom he loves best; heaven is the fittest place for them, this earth is not worthy of III. He charges him with his impiety and apostacy, and his them. 2. In wrath to the family; it was a sign the family idolatry particularly; Thou hast done evil above all that were would be ruined, when he was taken, by whom it might have before thee, v. 9. Saul, that was rejected, never worshipped been reformed. The righteous are removed from the evil to idols; Solomon did it but occasionally, in his dotage, and never come in this world, to the good to come in a better world. It made Israel to sin: Jeroboam's calves, though pretended to be is a bad omen to a family, when the best in it are buried out of set up in honour of the God of Israel, that brought them up out it; when what was valuable, is picked out, the rest is for the of Egypt, yet are here called other gods, or strange gods, fire. It is likewise a present affliction to the family and kingbecause in them he worshipped God, as the heathen worship- dom, by which both ought to have been bettered. It aggraped their strange gods; because by them he changed the truth vated it to the poor mother, that she should not reach home of God into a lie, and represented him as altogether different time enough to see her son alive. When thy feet enter into the from what he is; and because many of the ignorant worship-city, just then the child shall die. This was to be a sign to her pers terminated their devotion in the image, and did not at all of the accomplishment of the rest of the threatenings, as regard the God of Israel. Though they were calves of gold, 1 Sam. 2. 34. the richness of the metal was so far from making them acceptable to God, that they provoked him to anger; designedly affronted him, under colour of pleasing him. In doing this, 1. He had not set David before him; (v. 8,) Thou hast not been as my servant David; who, though he had his faults, and some bad ones, yet he never forsook the worship of God, nor grew loose or cold to that; his faithful adherence to that, gained him this honourable character, that he followed God with all his heart, and herein he was proposed for an example to all his successors; those did not do well, that did not like David. 2. He had not set God before him; but, (v. 9,) "Thou hast cast me behind thy back, my law, my fear; neglected me, forgotten me, and preferred thy policies before my precepts."

IV. He foretels the utter ruin of Jeroboam's house, v. 10, 11. He thought, by his idolatry, to establish his government, and by that, he not only lost it, but brought destruction upon his family; the universal destruction of all the males, whether shut up or left, married or unmarried. 1. Shameful destruction; they shall be taken away as dung, which is loathsome, and which men are glad to be rid of. He worshipped dung

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VI. He foretels the setting up of another family to rule over Israel, v. 14. This was fulfilled in Baasha of Issachar, who conspired against Nadab the son of Jeroboam, in the second year of his reign, murdered him, and all his family. "But what? Even now. Why do I speak of it as a thing at a distance? It is at the door; it shall be done, even now." Sometimes God makes quick work with sinners, he did so with the house of Jeroboam. It was not twenty-four years from his first elevation to the final extirpation of his family.

VII. He foretels the judgments which should come upon the people of Israel, for conforming to the worship which Jeroboam had established. If the blind lead the blind, both the blind leaders and the blind followers shall fall into the ditch. It is here foretold, (v. 15,) 1. That they should never be easy, nor rightly settled in their land, but continually shaken like a reed in the water. After they left the house of David, the government never continued long in one family, but one undermined and destroyed another, which must needs occasion great disorders and disturbances among the people. 2. That they should, ere long, be totally expelled out of their land, that

for him, according to the word of the LORD, which | Rehoboam, that Shishak king of Egypt came up he spake by the hand of his servant Ahijah the against Jerusalem: prophet.

19 And the rest of the acts of Jeroboam, how he warred," and how he reigned, behold, they are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel.

26 And he took away the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house : he even took away all: and he took away all the shields of gold which Solomon had made.

20 And the days which Jeroboam reigned were two and twenty years: and he slept with his fathers, and Nadab his son reigned in his stead.

27 And king Rehoboam made in their stead brazen shields, and committed them unto the hands of the chief of the guard, which kept the door of the king's house.

21 And Rehoboam the son of Solomon reigned in Judah. Rehoboam was forty and one years old when he began to reign, and he reigned seventeen years in Jerusalem, the city which the LORD did choose out of all the tribes of Israel, to put his name there. And his mother's name was Naamah, an Ammonitess.

22 And Judah did evil in the sight of the LORD, and they provoked him to jealousy with their sins which they had committed, above all that their fathers had done:

23 For they also built them high places and images and groves, on every high hill, and "under every green tree.

CHAPTER XV.

24 And there were also Sodomites in the land; In this chapter, we have an abstract of the history, I. Of two of the kings of Judah, and they did according to all the abominations of the nations which the LORD cast out before the children of Israel.

Abijam, the days of whose reign were few and evil, (v. 1-8,) and Asa, who reigned well and long, v. 9—24. II. Of two of the kings of Israel, Nadab the Bon of Jeroboam, and Baasha the destroyer of Jeroboam's house, v. 25-34.

25 And it came to pass, in the fifth year of king NOW, in the eighteenth year of king Jeroboam

the son of Nebat, reigned Abijam over Judah.

a ver. 12, 13.
& 2 Chr. 13. 2, &c. lay down. c 2 Chr. 12. 13. d c. 11. 36.
e Deut. 32. 21. Ps. 78. 58. 1 Cor. 10. 22. f Ex. 16. 24, 25. 1 or, standing
images, or, statues. g 2 Kings 17. 9, 10,

good land, and given up to ruin, v. 16. This was fulfilled in the captivity of the ten tribes by the king of Assyria. Families and kingdoms are ruined by sin, ruined by the wickedness of the heads of them. Jeroboam did sin, and made Israel to sin. If great men do wickedly, they involve many others both in the guilt and in the snare; multitudes follow their pernicious ways. They go to hell with a long train, and their condemnation will be more intolerable, who must answer not only for their own sins, but for the sins which others have been drawn into, and kept in, by their influence.

Jeroboam's wife has nothing to say against the word of the Lord, but she goes home with a heavy heart to their house in Tirzah, a sweet delightful place, so the name signifies, famed for its beauty, Cant. 6. 4. But death cannot be shut out from it, which will stain its beauty, and imbitter all its delights. Hither she came, and here we leave her attending the funeral of her son, and expecting the fate of her family.

(1.) The child died, (v. 17;) and justly did all Israel mourn, not only for the loss of so hopeful a prince, whom they were not worthy of, but because his death plucked up the floodgates, and made a breach, at which an inundation of judgments broke in. (2.) Jeroboam himself died soon after, v. 20. It is said, (2 Chr. 13. 20,) The Lord struck him with some sore disease, so that he died miserably, when he had reigned twentytwo years; and left his crown to a son, who lost it, and his life too, and all the lives of his family, within two years after. For a further account of him, the reader is referred to the annals of his reign, drawn up by his own secretaries, or to the public records, like those in the Tower, called here, The book, or register, of the Chronicles of the kings of Israel, to which recourse might be had; but, not being divinely inspired, they are long since lost.

V. 21-31. Judah's story and Israel's are intermixed in this book. Jeroboam outlived Rehoboam four or five years, yet his history is despatched first, that the account of Rehoboam's reign may be laid together; and a sad account it is.

I. Here is no good said of the king. All the account we have of him here, is, 1. That he was 41 years old, when he began to reign, by which reckoning, he was born in the last year of David, and had his education, and the forming of his mind, in the best days of Solomon; yet he lived not up to it. Solomon's defection, at last, did more to corrupt him, than his wisdom and devotion had done to give him good principles. 2. That he reigned 17 years in Jerusalem, the city where God put his name, where he had opportunity enough to know his duty, if he had had but a heart to do it. 3. That his mother was Naamah, an Ammonitess; this is twice mentioned, v. 21, 31. It was strange that David would marry his son Solomon to an Ammonitess, (for it was done while he lived,) but, it is probable, Solomon was in love with her, because she was Naamah, a beauty, so it signifies, and his father was loath to cross him, but it proved to have a very bad influence upon posterity. Probably, she was daughter to Shobi the Ammonite, who was kind to David, (2 Sam. 17. 27,) and David was too willing to requite him by matching his son into his family. None can imagine how last ing and how fatal the consequences may be, of being unequally yoked with unbelievers. 4. That he had continual war with Jeroboam, (v. 30,) which could not but be a perpetual uneasiness to him. 5. That when he had reigned but 17 years, he died, and left his throne to his son. His father, and grand

28 And it was so, when the king went into the house of the LORD, that the guard bare them, and brought them back into the guard-chamber.

29 Now the rest of the acts of Rehoboam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

30 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all their days.

31 And Rehoboam slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David. And his mother's name was Naamah, an Ammonitess. And Abijam" his son reigned in his stead.

h la. 57. 5. Jer. 3. 13. i Deut. 23. 17. 2 Kings 23. 7. k 2 Chr. 12. 2, & c. I c. 10. 17. 1 runners. m c. 12. 24, 15. 6. n 2 Chr. 12. 16, Abijah. Matt. 1. 7, Abia. a 2 Chr. 13. 1, &c.

father, and grandson, that reigned well, reigned long, 40 years apiece; but sin often shortens men's lives and comforts.

II. Here is much said to the disadvantage of the subjects, both as to their character and their condition.

1. See here how wicked and profane they were. It is a most sad account that is here given of their apostacy from God, v. 22-24. Judah, the only professing people God had in the world, did evil in his sight, in contempt and defiance of him, and the tokens of his special presence with them; they provoked him to jealousy, as the adulterous wife provokes her husband, by breaking the marriage-covenant. Their fathers had been bad enough, especially in the times of the judges, but they did abominable things, above all that their fathers had done. The magnificence of their temple, the pomp of their priesthood, and all the secular advantages with which their religion was attended, could not prevail to keep them close to it; nothing less than the pouring out of the Spirit from on high, will keep God's Israel in their allegiance to him. The account here given of the wickedness of the Jews, agrees with that which the apostle gives of the wickedness of the Gentile world, (Rom. 1. 21, 24;) so that both Jew and Gentile are all alike under sin, Rom. 3. 9. (1.) They became vain in their imaginations concerning God, and changed his glory into an image, for they built them high places, images, and groves, (v. 23,) profaning God's name, by affixing to it their images, and God's ordinances, by serving their idols with them. They foolishly fancied that they exalted God, when they worshipped him on high hills, and pleased him, when they worshipped him under the pleasant shadow of green trees. (2.) They were given up to vile affections, (as those idolaters, Rom. 1. 26, 27,) for there were Sodomites in the land, (v. 24;) men with men working that which is unseemly, and not to be thought of, much less mentioned, without abhorrence and indignation. They dishonoured God by one sin, and then God left them to dishonour themselves by another. They profaned the privileges · of a holy nation, therefore God gave them up to their own hearts' lusts, to imitate the abominations of the accursed Canaanites; and herein the Lord was righteous. And when they did like them that were cast out, how could they expect any other than to be cast out like them?

2. See here how weak and poor they were; and this was the consequence of the former. Sin exposes, impoverishes, and weakens any people. Shishak, king of Egypt, came against them, and so far, either by force or surrender, made himself master of Jerusalem itself, that he took away the treasures both of the temple and of the exchequer, of the house of the Lord, and of the king's house, which David and Solomon had amassed, v. 25, 26. These, it is likely, tempted him to make this descent; and, to save the rest, Rehoboam perhaps tamely surrendered them, as Ahab, ch. 20. 24. He also took away the golden shields, that were made but in his father's time, (v. 26 ;) these the king of Egypt carried off as trophies of his victory; and, instead of them, Rehoboam made brazen shields, which the lifeguard carried before him, when he went to church in state, v. 27, 28. This was an emblem of the diminution of his glory. Sin makes the gold become dim, changes the most fine gold, and turns it into brass. We commend Rehoboam for going to the house of the Lord, perhaps the oftener for the rebuke he had been under, and do not condemn him for going in pomp. Great men should honour God with their honour, and then they are themselves most honoured by it.

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5 Because David did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, and turned not aside from any thing that he commanded him all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite.

6 And there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam all the days of his life.

7 Now the rest of the acts of Abijam, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? And there was war between Abijam and Jeroboam.

8 And Abijam slept with his fathers; and they buried him in the city of David: and Asa his son reigned in his stead.

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NOTES TO CHAPTER XV.

v. 9.

V. I-8. We have here a short account of the short reign of Abijam the son of Rehoboam king of Judah. He makes a better figure, 2 Chr. 13. where we have an account of his war with Jeroboam, the speech he made before the armies engaged, and the wonderful victory he obtained by the help of God. There he is called Abijah, My father is the Lord, because no wickedness is there laid to his charge. But here, where we are told of his faults, Jah, the name of God, is, in disgrace to him, taken away from his name, and he is called Abijam, Jer. 22. 24. Few particulars are related concerning him. 1. He began his reign in the beginning of Jeroboam's 18th year; for Rehoboam reigned but 17, ch. 14. 21. Jeroboam indeed survived Rehoboam, but Rehoboam's Abijah lived to succeed him, and to be a terror to Jeroboam, while Jeroboam's Abijah (whom we read of ch. 14. 1) died before him. 2. He reigned scarcely three years, for he died before the end of Jeroboam's 20th year, Being made proud and secure by his great victory over Jeroboam, (2 Chr. 13. 21,) God cut him off, to make way for his son Asa, who would be a better man. 3. His mother's name was Maachah the daughter of Abishalom, namely, Absalom, David's son, as I am the rather inclined to think, because two other of Rehoboam's wives were his near relations, (2 Chr. 11. 18,) one the daughter of Jerimoth, David's son; and another the daughter of Eliab, David's brother. He took warning by his father, not to marry strangers; yet thought it below him to marry his subjects, except they were of the royal family. 4. He carried on his father's wars with Jeroboam. As there was continual war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam, not set battles, (they were forbidden, ch. 12. 24,) but frequent encounters, especially upon the borders; one making incursions and reprisals on the other so there was between Abijam and Jeroboam, (v. 7,) till Jeroboam, with a great army, invaded him, and then Abijam, not being forbidden to act in his own defence routed him, and weakened him, that he compelled him to be quiet the rest of his reign, 2 Chr. 13. 20.

9 And in the twentieth year of Jeroboam king of Israel reigned Asa over Judah.

10 And forty and one years reigned he in Jerusalem. And his 'mother's name was Maachah, the daughter of Abishalom.

11 And Asa did that which was right in the eyes of the LORD, as did David his father.

12 And he took away the sodomites out of the land, and removed all the idols that his fathers had made.

But, in general, we are told, (1.) That he was not like David, had no hearty affection for the ordinances of God; though, to serve his purpose against Jeroboam, he pleaded his possession of the temple and priesthood, as that which he valued himself upon, 2 Chr. 13. 10-12. Many boast of their profession of godliness, who are strangers to the power of it; and plead the truth of their religion, who yet are not true to it. His heart was not perfect with the Lord his God; he seemed to have zeal, but he wanted sincerity; he began well, but he fell off, and walked in all the sins of his father, followed his bad example, though he had seen the bad consequences of it. He that was all his days in war, ought to have been so wise as to make and keep his peace with God, and not to make him his Enemy, especially having found him so good a Friend in his war with Jeroboam, 2 Chr. 13. 18. Let favour be showed the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness, Is. 26. 10. (2.) That yet it was for David's sake that he was advanced to, and continued upon, the throne; it was for his sake, (v. 4, 5,) that God thus set up his son after him; not for his own sake, or for the sake of his father, whose steps he trod in, but for the sake of David, whose example he would not follow. Note, It aggravates the sin of a degenerate seed, that they fare the better for the piety of their ancestors, and owe their blessings to it, and yet will not imitate it. They stand upon that ground, and yet despise it, and trample upon it, and unreasonably ridicule and oppose that which they enjoy the benefit of. The kingdom of Judah was supported, [1] That David might have a lamp, pursuant to the divine ordination of a lamp for his anointed, Ps. 132. 17. [2.] That Jerusalem might be established; not only that the honours put upon it, in David's and Solomon's time, might be preserved to it, but that it might be reserved to the honours designed for it in aftertimes. The character here given of David, is very great,

13 And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.

14 But the high places were not removed: nevertheless Asa's heart was perfect with the LORD all his days.

15 And he brought in the things which his father had dedicated, and the things which himself had dedicated, into the house of the LORD, silver, and gold, and vessels.

16 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.

g 2 Chr. 14. 1, &c. ti. e. grandmothers. ver. 2. A 2 Chr. 15. 16, &c. I cut
off. Ex. 32. 20. k c. 22. 43. holy.
that he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, but the
exception very remarkable, save only in the matter of Uriah,
including both his murder, and the debauching of his wife.
That was a bad matter; it was a remaining blot upon his name,
a bar in his escutcheon, and the reproach of it was not wiped
away, though the guilt was. David was guilty of other faults,
but they were nothing in comparison of that; yet even that,
being repented of, though it be mentioned for warning to others,
did not prevail to throw him out of the covenant, nor to cut off
the entail of the promise upon his seed.

V. 9-24. We have here a short account of the reign of
Asa; we shall find a more copious history of it, 2 Chr. 14. 15.
and 16.
Here is,

1. The length of it; He reigned forty-one years in Jerusalem, v. 10. In the account we have of the kings of Judah, we find the number of the good kings and the bad ones nearly equal; but then we may observe, to our comfort, that the reign of the good kings was generally long, but that of the bad kings short, the consideration of which will make the state of God's church not altogether so bad, within that period, as it appears at first sight. Length of days is in Wisdom's right hand. Honour thy father, much more thy heavenly Father, that thy days may be long.

II. The general good character of it; (v. 11,) Asa did that which was right the eyes of the Lord. That is right indeed, which is so in God's eyes. Those are approved, whom he commends. He did as did David his father, kept close to God, and to his instituted worship, was hearty and zealous for that, which gave him this honourable character, that he was like David, though he was not a prophet, or psalmist, as David was. If we come up to the graces of those that are gone before us, it will be our praise with God, though we come short of their gifts. Asa was like David, though he was neither such a conqueror, nor such an author; for his heart was perfect with the Lord all his days, (v. 14,) that is, he was both cordial and constant in his religion. What he did for God, he was sincere in, steady and uniform, and did it from a good principle, with a single eye to the glory of God.

III. The particular instances of Asa's piety. His times were times of reformation. For, 1. He removed that which was evil. There reformation begins; and a great deal of work of that kind his hand found to do. For though it was but 20 years after the death of Solomon, that he began to reign, yet very gross corruption had spread far, and taken deep root. Immorality he first struck at; he took away the Sodomites out of the land, suppressed the brothels; for how can either prince or people prosper, while those cages of unclean and filthy birds, more dangerous than pest-houses, are suffered to remain? Then he proceeded against idolatry; he removed all the idols, even those that his father had made, v. 12. His father having made them, he was the more concerned to remove them, that he might cut off the entail of the curse, and prevent the visiting of that iniquity upon him and his. Nay, (which redounds much to his honour, and shows his heart was perfect with God,) when he found idolatry in the court, he rooted it out thence, v. 13. When it appeared that Maachah his mother, or rather his grandmother, (but called his mother, because she had the edu cation of him in his childhood,) had an idol in a grove, though she was his mother, his grandmother, though, it is likely, she had a particular fondness for it, though, being old, she could not live long to patronise it, though she kept it for her own use only, yet he would by no means counive at it. Reformation must begin at home. Bad practices will never be suppressed in the country, while they are supported in the court. Asa, in every thing else, will honour and respect his mother; he loves her well, but he loves God better, and, like the Levite, (Deut. 33. 9,) bravely forgets the relation, when it comes in competition with

17 And 'Baasha king of Israel went up against Judah, and built Ramah," that he "might not suffer any to go out or come in to Asa king of Judah.

18 Then Asa took all the silver and the gold that were left in the treasures of the house of the LORD, and the treasures of the king's house, and delivered them into the hand of his servants: and king Asa sent them to Ben-hadad, the son of Tabrimon, the son of Hezion, king of Syria, that dwelt at Damascus, saying,

19 There is a league between me and thee, and between my father and thy father: behold, I have sent unto thee a present of silver and gold; come and break the league with Baasha king of Israel, that he may depart from me.

20 So Ben-hadad hearkened unto king Asa, and sent the captains of the hosts which he had against the cities of Israel, and smote Ijon, and Dan, and Abel-bethmaachah, and all Cinneroth, with all the land of Naphtali.

21 And it came to pass, when Baasha heard thereof, that he left off building of Ramah, and dwelt in Tirzah.

12 Chr. 16. 1, c. m Josh. 18. 25. p 2 Kings 15. 29. 9 Judg. 18. 29. Josh. 18. 26.

24 And Asa slept with his fathers, and was buried with his fathers in the city of David his father: and Jehoshaphat" his son reigned in his stead.

25 And Nadab the son of Jeroboam began to reign over Israel in the second year of Asa king of Judah, and reigned over Israel two years.

26 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of his father, and in his sin wherewith he made Israel to sin.

28 Even in the third year of Asa king of Judah did Baasha slay him, and reigned in his stead.

29 And it came to pass, when he reigned, that he smote all the house of Jeroboam; he left not to Jeroboam any that breathed, until he had destroyed him, according unto the saying of the LORD, which he spake by his servant Ahijah the Shilonite:

30 Because of the sins of Jeroboam which he sinned, and which he made Israel sin, by his pro

22 Then king Asa made a proclamation through-vocation wherewith he provoked the LORD God of out all Judah; none was exempted: and they took away the stones of Ramah, and the timber thereof, wherewith Baasha had builded : and king Asa built with them Geba of Benjamin, and Mizpah.'

23 The rest of all the acts of Asa, and all his might, and all that he did, and the cities which he built, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah? Nevertheless in the time of his old age he was diseased "in his feet.

T c. 12. 27. o c. 11. 23, 24, • go up. r 2 Sam. 20. 14. + free. Josh. 21. 17.

27 And Baasha the son of Ahijah, of the house of Issachar, conspired against him: and Baasha smote him at Gibbethon, which belonged to the Philistines; (for Nadab and all Israel laid siege to Gibbethon ;)

his duty. If she be an idolater, (1.) Her idol shall be destroyed, publicly exposed to contempt, defaced, and burned to ashes, by the brook Kidron, on which, it is probable, he strewed the ashes, in imitation of Moses, (Ex. 32. 20,) and in token of his detestation of idolatry, and his indignation at it, wherever he found it. Let no remains of a court idol appear. (2.) She shall be deposed; he removed her from being queen, or from the queen, that is, from conversing with his wife; he banished her the court, and confined her to an obscure and private life. They that have power, are happy, when thus they have hearts to use it well. 2. He re-established that which was good, v. 15. He brought into the house of God the dedicated things which he himself had vowed out of the spoils of the Ethiopians he had conquered, and which his father had vowed, but lived not to bring in, pursuant to his vow. We must not only cease to do evil, but learn to do well; not only cast away the idols of our iniquity, but dedicate ourselves and our all to God's honour and glory. When those who, in their infancy, were, by baptism, devoted to God, make it their own act and deed to join themselves to him, and vigorously employ themselves in his service, that is bringing in the dedicated things which they and their fathers have dedicated; it is necessary justice, rendering to God the things that are his.

Israel to anger.

31 Now the rest of the acts of Nadab, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel?

32 And there was war between Asa and Baasha king of Israel all their days.

33 In the third year of Asa king of Judah began Baasha the son of Ahijah to reign over all Israel in Tirzah, twenty and four years.

2 Chr. 16. 12. 2 Chr. 17. 1, c. w Matt. 1. 8. called Josaphat.
y Josh. 21. 23. c. 16. 15. z c. 14. 9-16. a c. 14. 22. b ver.

reigned.

rc. 14. 14.

16.

yet, in some instances, come short of doing the good they might and should do. The perfection which is made the indispensable condition of the new covenant, is not to be understood of sinlessness, (then we were all undone,) but sincerity. 2. Did he bring in the dedicated things? That was well: but he afterward alienated the dedicated things, when he took the gold and silver out of the house of God, and sent them as a bribe to Benhadad, to hire him to break his league with Baasha, and, by making an inroad upon his country, to give him a diversion from the building of Ramah, v. 18, 19. Here he sinned, (1.) In tempting Ben-hadad to break his league, and so to violate the public faith. If he did wrong in doing it, as certainly he did, Asa did wrong in pursuading him to do it. (2.) In that he could not trust God, who had done so much for him, to free him out of this strait, without his using such indirect means to help himself. (3.) In taking the gold out of the treasury of the temple, which was not to be made use of, but on extraordinary occasions. The project succeeded; Ben-hadad made a descent upon the land of Israel, which obliged Baasha to retire with his whole force from Ramah, (v. 20, 21,) which gave Asa a fair opportunity to demolish his works there, and the timber and stones served him for the building of some cities of his own, v. 22. But though the design prospered, we find it was disIV. His political conduct. He built cities himself, to en-pleasing to God; and though Asa valued himself upon the policy courage the increase of his people, (v. 23,) and to invite others of it, and promised himself that it would effectually secure his to him by the conveniences of habitation. And he was very peace, he is told by a prophet, that he had done foolishly, and zealous to hinder Baasha from building Ramah, because he that from thenceforth he should have wars; see 2 Chr. 16. 7-9. designed it for the cutting off of communication between his VI. The troubles of his reign. For the most part, he prospeople and Jerusalem, and to hinder those who, in obedience pered: but, 1. Baasha king of Israel was a very troublesome to God, would come to worship there. An enemy must by no neighbour to him. He reigned 24 years, and, all his days, had means be suffered to fortify a frontier town. war, more or less, with Asa, v. 16. This was the effect of the division of the kingdoms, that they were continually vexing one another, which made them both an easier prey to the common enemy. 2. In his old age, he was himself afflicted with the gout; he was diseased in his feet, which made him less fit for business, and peevish toward those about him.

V. The faults of his reign. In both the things for which he was praised, he was found defective; the fairest characters are not without some but or other in them. 1. Did he take away the idols? That was well: but the high places were not removed, (v. 14,) therein his reformation fell short. He removed all images which were rivals with the true God, or false representations of him; but the altars which were set up in high places, and to which those sacrifices were brought, which should have been offered on the altar in the temple, those he suffered to stand, thinking there was no great harm in them, they having been used by good men before the temple was built, and being loath to disoblige the people, who had a kindness to them, and were wedded to them both by custom and convenience; whereas in Judah and Benjamin, the only tribes under Asa's government, which lay so near Jerusalem and the altars there, there was less pretence for them than in those tribes which lay more remote. They were against the law, which obliged them to worship at one place, Deut. 12. 11. They lessened men's esteem of the temple and the altars there, and were an open gap for idolatry to enter in at, while the people were so much addicted to it. It was not well that Asa, when his hand was in, did not remove these; nevertheless his heart was perfect with the Lord. This affords us a comfortable note, that those may be found honest and upright with God, and be accepted of him, who

VII. The conclusion of his reign. The acts of it were more largely recorded in the common history, (to which reference is here had, v. 23,) than in this sacred one. He reigned long, but finished, at last, with honour, and left his throne to a successor no way inferior to him.

V. 25-34. We are now to take a view of the miserable state of Israel, while the kingdom of Judah was happy under Asa's good government. It was threatened that they should be as a reed shaken in the water, (ch. 14. 15,) and so they were, when, during the single reign of Asa, the government of their kingdom was in six or seven different hands, as we find in this and the following chapter. Jeroboam was upon the throne, in the beginning of his reign, and Ahab at the end of it; between whom were Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Tibni, and Omri, undermining and destroying one another. This they got by deserting the house both of God and of David.

Here is, 1. The ruin and extirpation of the family of Jeroboam, according to the word of the Lord by Ahijah. His son Nadab succeeded him. If the death of his brother Abijah had

34 And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin "wherewith he made Israel to sin.

CHAPTER XVI.

This chapter relates wholly to the kingdom of Israel, and the revolutions of that kingdom-mauy in a little time. The utter ruin of Jeroboam's family, after it had been 24 years a royal family, we read of in the chapter before. In this chapter, we have, I. The ruin of Baasha's family, after it had been bot 26 years a royal family, foretold by a prophet, (v. 1-7.) and executed by Zimri, one of his captains, v. 8-14. II. The seven days' reign of Zimri, and his sudden fall, v. 15-20. The struggle between Omri and Tibni, and Omri's prevalency, and

his reign, v. 21-28. IV. The beginning of the reign of Ahab, whom we shall afterward read much of, v. 29-33. V. The rebuilding of Jericho, v. 34. All

this while, in Judah things went well.

THE
HEN the word of the LORD came to Jehu "the
son of Hanani, against Baasha," saying,
2 Forasmuch as I exalted thee out of the dust,
and made thee prince over my people Israel, and
thou hast walked in the way of Jeroboam, and hast
made my people Israel to sin, to provoke me to
anger with their sins;

3 Behold, I will take away the posterity of Baasha, and the posterity of his house; and will make thy house like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat.

4 Him that dieth of Baasha in the city shall the

c c. 12. 28, 29. 13. 33, 34. b c. 15. 33. c c. 14. 7.

dc. 14. 16. Is. 1. 4. a ver. 7. 2 Chr. 19. 2. 20. 34. d c. 15.34. e Matt. 5. 19. f ver. 11. c. 21. 21, 22. had a due influence upon him, to make him religious, and the honour done him at his death had engaged him to follow his good example, his reign might have been long and glorious; but he walked in the way of his father, (v. 26,) kept up the worship of his calves, and forbade his subjects to go up to Jerusalem to worship; sinned and made Israel to sin; and therefore God brought ruin upon him quickly, in the second year of his reign. He was besieging Gibbethon, a city which the Philistines had taken from the Danites, and was endeavouring to retake it; and there, in the midst of his army, did Baasha, with others, conspire against him, and kill him, (v. 27;) and so little interest had he in the affections of his people, that his army did not only not avenge his death, but chose his murderer for his successor. Whether Baasha did it upon a personal pique against Nadab, or to be avenged on the house of Jeroboam, for some affront received from them; or whether, under pretence of freeing his country from the tyranny of a bad prince; or whether, merely from a principle of ambition, or to make way for himself to the throne, does not appear; but he slew him, and reigned in his stead, v. 28. And the first thing he did, when he came to the crown, was, to cut off all the house of Jeroboam, that he might the better secure himself, and his own usurped government. He thought it not enough to imprison or banish them, but he destroyed them; left not only no males, (as was foretold, ch. 14. 10,) but none that breathed. Herein, he was barbarous, but God was righteous. Jeroboam's sin was punished, (v. 30,) for they that provoke God, do it to their own confusion; see Jer. 7. 19. Ahijah's prophecy was accomplished, (v. 29,) for no word of God shall fall to the ground. Divine threatenings are not designed merely to terrify.

2. The elevation of Baasha. He shall be tried a while, as Jeroboam was; 24 years he reigned, (v. 33,) but showed that it was not from any dislike to Jeroboam's sins, that he destroyed his family, but from malice and ambition; for when he had rooted out the sinner, he himself clave to the sin, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, (v. 34,) though he had seen the end of that way; so strangely was his heart hardened with the deceitfulness of sin.

NOTES TO CHAPTER XVI.

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Baasha seemed to have raised himself by his own treachery and cruelty, yet there was the hand of Providence in it, to bring about God's counsel, concerning Jeroboam's house; and God's owning his advancement as his act and deed, does by no means amount to the patronising of his ambition and treachery. It is God that puts power into bad men's hands, which he makes to serve his good purposes, notwithstanding the bad use they make of it. I made thee prince over my people. God calls Israel his people still, though wretchedly corrupted, because they retained the covenant of circumcision, and there were many good people among them; it was not till long after, that they were called Lo-ammi, not a people, Hos. 1. 9. (2.) He charges him with high crimes and misdemeanors. [1] That he had made Israel to sin, had seduced God's subjects from their allegiance, and had brought them to pay the homage due to him only, to dunghill deities, and herein, he had walked in the way of Jeroboam, (v. 2,) and been like his house, v. 7. [2] That he had himself provoked God to anger with the work of his hands, that is, by worshipping images, the work of men's hands; though others made them, perhaps he served them, and thereby avowed the making of them, and they are therefore called the work of his hands. [3] That he had destroyed the house of Jeroboam, (v. 7,) because he killed him, namely, Jeroboam's son, and all his; if he had done that with an eye to God, and to his will and glory, and from a holy indignation against the sins of Jeroboam and his house, he had been accepted and applauded as a minister of God's justice; but as he did it, he was not only the tool of God's justice, but a servant to his own lusts, and is justly punished for the malice and ambition which governed him in all he did. They who are, any way, employed in denouncing or executing the justice of God, (magistrates or ministers,) are concerned to do it from a good principle, and in a holy manner, lest it turn into sin to them, and they make themselves obnoxions by it. (3.) He foretels the same destruction to come upon his family, which he himself had been employed to bring upon the family of Jeroboam, v. 3, 4. They who resemble others in their sins, may expect to resemble them in their plagues, especially those who seem zealous against such sins in others, as they allow themselves in; the house of Jehu was reckoned with for the blood of the house of Ahab, Hos. I. 4.

V. 1-14. Here is,

II. A reprieve granted for some time, so long, that Baasha I. The ruin of the family of Baasha foretold: he was a man himself dies in peace, and is buried with honour in his own royal likely enough to have raised and established his family, active, city, (v. 6:) so far is he from being a prey either to the dogs politic, and daring; but he was an idolater, and that brought or to the fowls, which yet was threatened to his house, v. 4. destruction upon his family. God sent him warning of it before, He lives not either to see or feel the punishment threatened, 1. That if he were thereby wrought upon to repent and reform, yet he was himself the greatest delinquent; certainly, there the ruin might be prevented; for God threatens, that he may must be a future state, in which impenitent sinners will suffer not strike, as one that desires not the death of sinners. 2. That, in their own persons, and not escape, as often they do in this if not, it might appear that the destruction, when it did come, world. Baasha died under no visible stroke of divine venwhoever might be instruments of it, was the act of God's jus-geance, for aught that appears, but God laid up his iniquity for tice, and the punishment of sin. The warning was sent by his children, (as Job speaks, ch. 21. 19;) thus he often visits Jehu, the son of Hanani. The father was a seer, or prophet, sins. Observe, Baasha is punished by the destruction of his at the same time, 2 Chr. 16. 7. He was sent to Asa king of children after his death, and his children are punished by the Judah; but the son, who was young, and more active, was sent abuse of their bodies after their death; that is the only thing on this longer and more dangerous expedition to Baasha king which the threatening specifies, (v. 4.) that the dogs and the of Israel. Juniores ad labores-Toil and adventure are for the fowls of the air should eat them, as if herein were designed a young. This Jehu was a prophet, and the son of a prophet. tacit intimation, That there are punishments after death, when Prophecy, thus happily entailed, was worthy of so much the death has done its worst, which will be the sorest punishments, more honour. This Jehu continued long in his usefulness, for and are most to be dreaded; these judgments on the body and we find him reproving Jehoshaphat, (2 Chr. 19. 2,) above 40 posterity, signified judgments on the soul when separated from years after, and writing the annals of that prince, 2 Chr. 20. 34. the body, by Him who, after he has killed, has power to cast into The message which this prophet brought to Baasha, is much the same with that which Ahijab sent to Jeroboam by his wife. (1.) He reminds him of the great things God had done for him; (v. 2,) I exalted thee out of the dust, to the throne of glory; a great instance of the divine sovereignty and power, 1 Sam. 2. 8.

hell.

III. Execution done at last. Baasha's son Elah, like Jeroboam's son Nadab, reigned two years, and then was slain by Zimri, one of his own soldiers, as he was by Baasha: so like was his house made to that of Jeroboam, as was threatened, v. 3.

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